The readers of this book will find it is a living document to help parents and religion teachers gain an understanding of the challenges and rewards brought by a child or adult with special needs to a church or congregation. Danyelle Ferguson and Lynn Parsons have brought their experiences as parents and as educators to assist those responsible for bringing religion to the lives of children who learn differently and whose behavior may not fit the norm or conform to adult comfort level. The authors have beautifully woven the frustrations that have been experienced into an action-living plan to help the children with special needs. The organization of the chapters permits the reader to select a specific topic, obtain suggestions and move forward without reading each proceeding chapter. The authors provide the readers with specific suggestions which may meet the needs of the child in one setting or at different ages.
Finally, the authors have included a much needed section related to adults with disabilities and the very unique challenges this population face daily and the challenges these individuals bring to our religious teachers and leaders. Our society is forgiving of children, but slow to give the same forgiveness to adults who have the same challenges as children.
My vision is that the information provided in (dis)Abilities and the Gospel will be of value to a wide population of religious formation teachers. This book is needed to assist teachers of religion and our religious leaders to help children and adults with disabilities be included in our churches, as well as society in general.
Texas Woman’s University
Professor of Special Education